The Day Moon Met the Raven
A man who had for some time been travelling the road in all weathers, sat down at the roadside under a sheltering tree. His jacket was richly embroidered but his leather boots were dusty and worn from long walking. He had little coin in his purse but his pouch was full of papers covered with poems and interesting thoughts gathered here and there. He was tired, too tired to even be capable of assessing his own mood at that moment. He was, he thought, probably content.
As the sun sank and dusk fell he looked up and saw the moon rise and he realised that it was the Autumn Equinox, when the length of the day and the night, darkness and light, are equal. As he relaxed and watched the moon climb higher into the sky his mind drifted and he began to assess his own life, dispassionately. His memory drifted here and there across many years.
Awakening from his trance he realised that he had been joined by a white cat and a raven. He thought they must be hungry and began to feel in his pocket for food of some kind but the Raven, seeing his intention, said,
”Sir, don’t let us trouble you, for we are not hungry. We came to sit beside you only because your appearance interested us.”
With that, they began to discuss him as if he was not there, but also as though they could read all his thoughts.
The cat said ”He seems to me a miserable man with a sad life. Look at his boots and the lines that run down by the sides of his mouth, Raven, and he clearly has no money. I would say he is a terrible failure. He has nothing. He looks homeless and I am convinced he has no wife and no children.”
She paused to clean an ear with her paw and looked thoughtful.
” I expect he has travelled much too, and those types who keep feeling the need to move on seldom manage to keep many friends. Doubtless he is also unemployed or he wouldn’t be sitting here dreaming. It all looks like doom and gloom to me. How very sad! ”
”Squawk,” said the Raven, cocking his head at the man and considering, ” I see him quite differently. I see a man with laughter lines round his eyes and he clearly loves beauty, just look at the jacket he wears! And he may not have much in the way of coin but he is generous with what he does have or he would not have begun to search for food when he saw us. He is kind I think. He does seem to have a lot of papers in his pouch and I suspect, by the dreamy look in his eyes, that they are poems so maybe he has, not a job, but a talent. Also he is tall and strong and I doubt he lacks for food. I suspect he is also armed, a dagger slipped into his boot perhaps.”
The Raven hopped onto the man’s shoulder to get a closer look. The man smiled at that.
”As for being much travelled, well yes, but is it really true to say that a rolling stone gathers no moss? True, he probably has left friends and loved ones behind, but just imagine all he has seen on the way and all of the people he has met. I think he has had a rich life and must be happy and could even be congratulated.”
The Raven and the Cat then proceeded to squabble and the man feared the Raven might be eaten, so he spoke.
”May I interject in this argument for the sake of your peace?”
”Yes, please do”, said the Raven, hoping for an end to the fight and some wisdom.
”I suppose so” said the Cat, shrugging and sounding gloomy, ”Much good may it do, for I expect none.” She sat grooming herself again, looking bored.
”Well” said the man, ”It seems to me that you both see things from only one point of view. You, dear Cat, are entirely negative and this charming Raven sees only the good and the positive in all.”
”So”, said the Cat, expecting to lose the argument, ”Tell me I am wrong then. Go on.”
At that the Raven looked pleased but sighed in a way only a bird can.
”The truth is,” said the man, ”that you are both right but without each other you are both wrong.”
”How so Sir?” said the Raven, looking puzzled.
”I am both happy and sad.” the man replied, ”The sum of all you say is true. But if only the negative was true I would just sit here and give up and if only the positive part were true then I would have learned nothing. The positive and the negative work together in my life. Joy is my desire and I have often had it but I know that sorrow, which I also have had, can bring depth to feeling and we can’t appreciate the one without the other. So I sit in the middle and am content. We all need balance!”
With that, the man stood up.
”I will continue my journey now”, he said. ”I wish you both well and safe paths.”
The cat turned her back and pretended to look at something else, as Cats always do when embarrassed and the Raven said,
”Sir I will come with you if I may. I have always liked travel. I sense that you are restless at night and perhaps when you are tired I can lighten your day?”
The man smiled and nodded his head. As he began to walk off he said, under his breathe,
‘’Gold leaves spin, falling, bringing sadness and delight. The balance is held.’’